Look back … look forward.

Happy new year to all my readers, I hope you’ve all had a good festive season with time to recharge and look ahead to 2019.  

Christmas themed bag charms.
Christmas themed bag charms – the little black cat with a Santa hat was a personal favourite!

The lead up to Christmas is often a busy one for small businesses, especially those that involve selling, and it is quite a relief to have a little downtime to collect thoughts, look back on the past year and then look forward to the new one with new ideas and optimism.  For me the beginning of the year is often quiet on the selling front and I should by now be used to this and try not to get a too twitchy!  There are so many things involved in running an indie business that a space of quiet like this should really be a blessing to catch up on non-sewing work, but naturally you can’t help hearing those inner voices casting small nuggets of doubt about your craft and where your path is leading.

As these thoughts can pop up at any time, I keep a month by month journal listing anything positive that happens with regard to Ellie’s Treasures. When the doubt sets in, I find it a help to look back and see that business is not stagnant, there is always something in the pipeline, always something to work on and improve and, hopefully, a lovely customer or two that comes along at the right moment with a compliment that makes you start to believe in yourself again.

A monthly list of positive steps that have been taken in your business.

The last few months have been a whirlwind of sewing, listing, restocking and selling so I thought I’d share with you a couple of lovely things that have happened since the Autumn and a few plans for the coming year.

I can now show you photos of an artwork commission I received back in September and completed in October.  It was a privilege to work alongside my client and be trusted with such a personal birthday present and seeing it come together, piece by piece, was really fulfilling.  

Mixed media hand sewn artwork commission.
Close up detail of mixed media hand sewn artwork.

The end of November and beginning of December were busy craft market times for Ellie’s Treasures with Pensthorpe Craft Fair and Deepdale Christmas Market over two consecutive weekends.  Both were extremely busy and great fun. It was a pleasure to meet so many supportive sellers, customers and visitors, it really does make the early mornings and late evenings worthwhile.  I’d like to thank Lottie of Lottie’s Little Treasures (who was also selling at Deepdale with her beautifully gorgeous goodies) for taking the time out of her busy days to track me down so we could meet in person – it was a lovely surprise, thank you so much.

Plans for 2019?  Well I have a few new ideas up my sleeve! I’ve just started to introduce planner charms to my range, two are now listed, one is waiting to be photographed and several are ready for sewing. The clip charms are cute and original little accessories that will brighten up any thin ring bound notebook, diary or journal – perfect for the stationery lover.

Hand sewn unicorn planner journal charm in pink.
cute unicorn planner charm in pink – a new line for Ellie’s Treasures

I’ve been hearing on the grapevine that nature will be featuring big this year, so I’m in the process of developing a range to include more tactile embellishments along these lines.  Also, getting Ellie’s Treasures out on the road is something I’d like to do more of as I really enjoy meeting folk face to face. This does mean I need to be sewing a lot more than I already am so a big challenge there for me as time always seems to be against me.  Finally, perhaps this year will be the year I start my own shop website – we’ll see … one step at a time!

Do you have exciting plans for 2019?  Drop me a comment, I’d love to hear how you see the year progressing for you.

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Instagram: March Meet The Maker

March Meet The Maker 2018 on Instagram

Last month I took part in an Instagram hashtag challenge run by Joanne Hawker called “March Meet The Maker”.  Designed to take a peek into the lives of creatives, which, apart from being a little nosy (and aren’t we all from time to time), helps to get to know the person behind the wonderful creativity you see popping up in your timeline.  It’s also the perfect way to find new people to follow and interact with.

The idea is to post a daily photo that is relevant to the daily challenge title.  Finding a window in the day to prepare, photograph and post each day was fun (I did get a little behind at times and even had to miss a couple of days) but I actually miss the relaxed discipline of taking a daily picture and adding it to my Instagram feed.

Each daily pointer gave the viewer an insight into how the maker started their craft, their routine, their down time and all the little ins and outs of creating and running a small business.

Of all the daily titles, the following three were my favourites:

Day 14 Dreams & Plans – where I shared my dream of owning a bricks and mortar shop.
Instagram March Meet The Maker 2018 Dreams and Plans

Day 22 Sketchbook & Lists – photographing my 90s Filofax which holds all my notes, supply information and new idea lists and sketches.
Instagram March Meet The Maker 2018 filofax and creative work in progress

Day 29 Community – a chance to thank my online community for their support which is a vital and necessary part of running a small business.
March Meet The Maker 2018 - Community

You can see the photos of all participants by clicking this link: #marchmeetthemaker – I hope you get inspired as much as I did when viewing the amazing array of photographs.

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